The West Virginia University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honor society in the U.S., is inducting six new honorary members this coming Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010.

The new members have exhibited an enduring commitment to academics and learning over the course of their careers, and all harbor a deep connection to WVU. The inductees are Rudolph P. Almasy, Keith Garbutt, Robin C. Capehart, Dwight Harshbarger, Robert King and David D. Meisel.

Rudolph P. Almasy is a professor of English and former chair of that department at WVU. He graduated from MacMurray College with his bachelor’s degree and then from the University of Minnesota with his master’s degrees. During this time, he also worked as an instructor of English at WVU. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position teaching English at WVU, where he also supervised the Undergraduate Writing Laboratory and the Business English Program. In 1994, he accepted a position as the associate dean for academic affairs, and he later became the associate dean for college development. He has served as the acting and interim dean of the Eberly College three times.

Keith Garbutt is a professor of biology and dean of the Honors College at WVU. He graduated from the University College of North Wales, University of Wales, United Kingdom in 1974 and then pursued a post-graduate certificate in education and continued on to receive his doctorate in botany in 1981. He has served as a visiting research and teaching associate at the University of Illinois’ Department of Plant Biology and a visiting research associate at Harvard. He has been teaching at WVU since 1987.

Garbutt became chair of the Department of Biology in 1993, and in 2000, he was appointed as the director of the University Honors Program in WVU’s Honors College. He was later named the first dean of the Honors College, a position which brings him into close contact with WVU students who are invited to join Phi Beta Kappa.

Robin C. Capehart is a native of West Virginia who has dedicated his career to the state as an attorney, cabinet secretary and educator. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science from WVU in 1975 and received his law degree 1978.

He returned to his hometown of Moundsville to practice law, where he served as the assistant prosecuting and then chief administrative law judge for the State Department’s Office of Hearings and Appeals. He first began teaching at West Virginia Northern Community College and also taught at Marshall University. There, he was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award from Lewis College, making him the first professor to receive the award in his first year of teaching.

Capehart currently serves as the 32nd president of West Liberty State College. He has served as committee counsel for the House of Delegates, as a consultant on tax reform efforts and as one of West Virginia’s five electors to the Electoral College. Gov. Cecil Underwood appointed him to the position of Secretary of Tax and Revenue for the State of West Virginia in 1997.

In August 2000, Capehart was the recipient of the Distinguished West Virginian Award for his achievements and his contributions to the State. The Council for the International Exchange of Scholars named him as a Fulbright recipient in 2006, and he taught public finance at Moldova State University while researching the country’s property tax system.

Dwight Harshbarger is both an alumnus of WVU, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology, and a former faculty member in the Department of Psychology. He is the author of “In the Heart of the Hills,” a reflection of growing up in West Virginia post-World War II, and “Witness at Hawk’s Nest.”

He has served as the corporate senior vice president for Reebok International, Ltd, the corporate vice president of Sealy, Inc, the executive director and senior fellow of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, a consultant to RHR’s International Chicago office and a director of strategic consulting and vice president at Aubrey Daniels International.

Harshbarger’s personal interests lie in strengthening quality and performance in organizations. He also heads the Brown Group, Inc., a consulting firm that he established, and has worked with numerous international corporations to implement successful behavior-based performance improvement programs in both the United States and Asia.

Robert King received his bachelor’s degree from WVU in 1961. He then entered the Air Force, serving in the Office of Special Investigations, before returning to WVU to earn his law degree in 1968, where he graduated Order of the Coif. He clerked for U.S. District Judge John A. Field. Sen. Robert Byrd recommended that he be appointed the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia in 1977.

He later served as the Counsel for the West Virginia State Bar’s Committee on Legal Ethics and a member of both the West Virginia State Bar’s governing board and the Judicial Investigation Commission of West Virginia. President Clinton appointed him to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998.

King is a fierce protector of the inviolability of the jury deliberation process and has made substantial contributions to the law in civil rights and constitutional cases. He and his sister, former Eberly College Dean Mary Ellen Mazey, endowed a scholarship at the University in 2003 in honor of their mother. He currently sits on the WVU Alumni Association Board of Directors and serves as vice chair of the College of Law Alumni Association. In 2003, Judge King received the Justitia Officum Award, which is the College of Law’s highest honor.

David D. Meisel has been a professor of astronomy for more than 40 years. He earned his undergraduate degree at WVU in physics in 1961 and went on to receive his doctoral degree at Ohio State University. He became a research associate at Leander McCormack Observatory at the University of Virginia after graduating and then accepted a position at the State University of New York College of Arts and Sciences at Genesco.

His work yielded important discoveries, such as the effect of micrometeors on the earth’s atmosphere, and he created “micro-observatories” to allow non-science majors taking his course to analyze the digital images of stars and planets, using images they had taken themselves.

Meisel has been published in numerous journals, including: Icarus, Science and The Astrophysical Journal. He is a member of the International Astronomical Union and the American Astronomical Society, for which he is a visiting lecturer. He is executive director of the American Meteor Society and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, a member of the British Royal Astronomical Society, a member of the International Informatics Academies in Kazan and Moscow, and a national lecturer through the Harlow Shapely Visiting Lectureship Program.

For more information about event, contact Michael Mays, professor of mathematics, at 304-293-2011 ext: 2324 or



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